The severe drought was guilty of the collapse of the Mayan civilization 1,200 years ago

The mysterious Mayan civilization collapsed due to a severe drought, a study confirmed. In the photo is the Pyramid of the Five Floors (pyramid of the five floors), located in the Gran Plaza de Campeche, Mexico

The mysterious Mayan civilization collapsed due to a severe drought, a study confirmed.

People dominated Central America and South America flourished until 800 AD, building spectacular pyramids and temples, but in 1000 AD it had collapsed.

And when the Spanish conquistadores came into contact with what remained in the sixteenth century, the jungle creepers flourished in the abandoned limestone cities.

Theories to explain the drastic decline of the once powerful empire have included the invasion of foreign powers, war, disease and the collapse of trade.

Now researchers at the universities of Cambridge and Florida have found convincing evidence that a long period of drought had devastating effects on this vast civilization.

They discovered it when observing samples of water in the Chichancanab lake of Mexico, where the Mayans were.

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The mysterious Mayan civilization collapsed due to a severe drought, a study confirmed. In the photo is the Pyramid of the Five Floors (pyramid of the five floors), located in the Gran Plaza de Campeche, Mexico

The mysterious Mayan civilization collapsed due to a severe drought, a study confirmed. In the photo is the Pyramid of the Five Floors (pyramid of the five floors), located in the Gran Plaza de Campeche, Mexico

Scientists Solved this by measuring isotopes of water in gypsum, a mineral that can be formed in lakes during times of drought.

When plaster forms, the water molecules are incorporated directly into its crystalline structure, and this water records the different isotopes that were present in the water of the ancient lake at the time of its formation.

"In periods of drought, more water evaporates from lakes like Chichancanab, and because the lighter isotopes of water evaporate faster, the water becomes heavier," said Nick Evans, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Science of the Land of Cambridge. Online mail.

A greater proportion of the heavier isotopes, such as oxygen-18 and hydrogen-2 (deuterium), would indicate drought conditions.

"By mapping the proportion of different isotopes contained within each layer of gypsum, the researchers were able to construct a model to estimate past changes in rainfall and relative humidity during the Mayan collapse period," Evans said.

Based on these measurements, the researchers found that annual precipitation decreased between 41% and 54% during the collapse period of the Mayan civilization, with periods of up to 70% reduction in rainfall during peak drought conditions.

"The previous results pointed to more modest reductions in rainfall, but our new methodology that uses all stable isotopes in the water reveals that droughts in northern Yucatan were more severe than previously thought," Evans said.

In the image you can see a mask of the Mayan rain God Chac & # 39; in a building in Labna in the Puuc region of the northern peninsula of Yucatan. The prevalence of Chaac masks in architecture throughout the Mayan region is a testament to the importance of rain for the Maya

In the image you can see a mask of the Mayan rain God Chac & # 39; in a building in Labna in the Puuc region of the northern peninsula of Yucatan. The prevalence of Chaac masks in architecture throughout the Mayan region is a testament to the importance of rain for the Maya

In the image you can see a mask of the Mayan rain God Chac & # 39; in a building in Labna in the Puuc region of the northern peninsula of Yucatan. The prevalence of Chaac masks in architecture throughout the Mayan region is a testament to the importance of rain for the Maya

The image shows the sediment core used in this study, compared to the depth below the bottom of the lake. Sediment layers consist of dark layers that are composed of deposits rich in organic matter and light colored layers that are composed of mineral gypsum. Gypsum is formed when the lake level was reduced in times of drought

The image shows the sediment core used in this study, compared to the depth below the bottom of the lake. Sediment layers consist of dark layers that are composed of deposits rich in organic matter and light colored layers that are composed of mineral gypsum. Gypsum is formed when the lake level was reduced in times of drought

The image shows the sediment core used in this study, compared to the depth below the bottom of the lake. Sediment layers consist of dark layers that are composed of deposits rich in organic matter and light colored layers that are composed of mineral gypsum. Gypsum is formed when the lake level was reduced in times of drought

WHO WERE THE MAYAS?

The Mayan civilization prospered in Central America for almost 3,000 years, reaching its height between 250 and 900 AD.

Known for the only fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, the Maya also had highly advanced art and architecture, as well as mathematical and astronomical systems.

During that time, ancient people built incredible cities using advanced machinery and acquired an understanding of astronomy, as well as the development of advanced agricultural methods and precise calendars.

The Mayans believed that the cosmos formed their daily life and used astrological cycles to know when to plant crops and establish their calendars.

This has led to theories that the Mayans may have chosen to place their cities in line with the stars.

It is already known that the Chichen Itza pyramid was built according to the location of the sun during the spring and autumn equinoxes.

When the sun sets in these two days, the pyramid projects a shadow over itself that aligns with a carving of the head of the god of the Mayan serpent.

The shadow creates the body of the serpent so that when the sun sets, the terrifying god seems to slide towards the earth.

Mayan influence can be detected from Honduras, Guatemala and western El Salvador to places as far away as central Mexico, more than 1,000 km from the Maya area.

The Mayan peoples never disappeared. Today their descendants form considerable populations throughout the Maya area.

They maintain a distinctive set of traditions and beliefs that are the result of the fusion of pre-Columbian and post-conquest ideas and cultures.

"The role of climate change in the collapse of classical Maya civilization is somewhat controversial, in part because previous records are limited to qualitative reconstructions, for example, if conditions were wetter or drier," he said.

Climate change and drought were proposed in the 1990s, but they remained controversial.

The study is the first to present statistically sound estimates of rainfall and humidity levels during the fall of civilization.

Professor David Hodell, Director of Cambridge's Godwin Laboratory for Cambridge Paleoclimate Research, said: "This method is highly accurate and is almost like measuring water itself."

In the photo is the Pyramid of the Five Floors. The Mayan civilization is divided into four main periods: Preclassic (2000 BC - 250 BC), Classic (250 BC - 800 BC), Classic Terminal (800 - 1000 CE) and Post Classic (1000 CE - 1539 CE).

In the photo is the Pyramid of the Five Floors. The Mayan civilization is divided into four main periods: Preclassic (2000 BC - 250 BC), Classic (250 BC - 800 BC), Classic Terminal (800 - 1000 CE) and Post Classic (1000 CE - 1539 CE).

In the photo is the Pyramid of the Five Floors. The Mayan civilization is divided into four main periods: Preclassic (2000 BC – 250 BC), Classic (250 BC – 800 BC), Classic Terminal (800 – 1000 CE) and Post Classic (1000 CE – 1539 CE).

In the photo you can see Lake Chichancanab, the study site. However, during the 9th century, there was a great political collapse in the central Maya region: its famous limestone cities were abandoned and the dynasties ended

In the photo you can see Lake Chichancanab, the study site. However, during the 9th century, there was a great political collapse in the central Maya region: its famous limestone cities were abandoned and the dynasties ended

In the photo you can see Lake Chichancanab, the study site. However, during the 9th century, there was a great political collapse in the central Maya region: its famous limestone cities were abandoned and the dynasties ended

The Mayan civilization is divided into four main periods: the Preclassic (2000 BC – 250 BC), classical (250 BC – 800 BC), classical terminal (800 – 1000 CE) and post classic (1000 CE – 1539 CE).

The Classic period was marked by the construction of monumental architecture, intellectual and artistic development and the growth of large city-states.

However, during the 9th century, there was a great political collapse in the central Maya region: its famous limestone cities were abandoned and the dynasties ended.

"One of the problems in solving what happened to the Mayans was that all their books were burned by order of Catholic priests," said Mr. Evans.

And although the Maya survived beyond this period, their political and economic power ran out, the researchers write in the newspaper, published in the journal Science.

Scientists studied water samples in Lake Chichancanab in Mexico, where the Maya were based

Scientists studied water samples in Lake Chichancanab in Mexico, where the Maya were based

Scientists studied water samples in Lake Chichancanab in Mexico, where the Maya were based

Two intervals of political disintegration have been identified in previous studies.

The first corresponded to a period of political collapse in the centers of Puuc and other regions of the interior from 850-925 AD.

The second interval of political collapse occurred around the year 1000 AD and presented the end of the monumental construction and the hieroglyphic inscriptions in some Puuc centers and in Chichén Itzá around the year 1025-1050 AD.

Therefore, the disappearance occurred during a period of 200 to 300 years.

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